con·​sume | \ kən-ˈsüm How to pronounce consume (audio) \
consumed; consuming

Definition of consume

transitive verb

1 : to do away with completely : destroy Fire consumed several buildings.
2a : to spend wastefully : squander consumed his inheritance on luxuries
b : use up Writing consumed much of his time.
3a : to eat or drink especially in great quantity consumed several bags of pretzels
b : to enjoy avidly : devour … mysteries, which she consumes for fun …— Eden Ross Lipson
4 : to engage fully : engross consumed with curiosity
5 : to utilize as a customer consume goods and services

intransitive verb

1 : to waste or burn away : perish
2 : to utilize economic goods

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Synonyms for consume


devour, eat (up)

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Examples of consume in a Sentence

The new lights consume less electricity. She's making an effort to live more simply and consume less. Hundreds of books were consumed in the fire.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Collecting data solely by repeatedly driving the ramps would be time consuming, and potentially annoying to residents. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "How Amazon Cloned a Neighborhood to Test Its Delivery Robots," 14 June 2019 The woman reportedly consumed large amounts of alcohol and began fighting with people at the party, and allegedly tried to harm herself, after being denied more alcohol. Brian Lisik,, "Resident cited after refusing to turn down the music: Brunswick Hills Township Police Blotter," 13 June 2019 The following products, also manufactured by Townsend Farms, should not be consumed and can be returned for a refund or replacement, Kroger said last Friday in a news release. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Costco joins Kroger in recalling frozen berries due to hepatitis A concerns," 13 June 2019 The Class 1 volume charge for residential rates will increase from $4.05 for each 100 cubic fee of water consumed to $4.15 on July 1, and $4.25 on July 1, 2020. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora raises water and sewer rates," 13 June 2019 The requirements have been hard to meet, time-consuming, and expensive. Sallie Tisdale, Harper's magazine, "Catechism of the Waters," 10 June 2019 The fire was later named the Ranch Fire and grew rapidly, eventually consuming 410,203 acres and causing the death of one firefighter and injuries to at least three others. Ukiah Daily Journal, The Mercury News, "Northern California Ranch Fire — largest in state history — caused by a hammer, Cal Fire finds," 7 June 2019 This can be a time-consuming and messy, so check with your design consultant about cost and disposal methods ahead of time. Stepfanie Romine, azcentral, "Your step-by-step guide to choosing new flooring for any room in your home," 7 June 2019 The study estimates that adults consume and inhale at least 98,000 of the particles each year, based on a review of previous research about microplastic intake from such things as seafood, honey, bottled water and beer. Evan Bush, The Seattle Times, "Average Americans eat, inhale thousands of tiny plastic pieces every year, study says," 6 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consume.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of consume

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for consume

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French consumer, from Latin consumere, from com- + sumere to take up, take, from sub- up + emere to take — more at sub-, redeem

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Statistics for consume

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for consume

The first known use of consume was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for consume



English Language Learners Definition of consume

: to eat or drink (something)
: to use (fuel, time, resources, etc.)
: to destroy (something) with fire


con·​sume | \ kən-ˈsüm How to pronounce consume (audio) \
consumed; consuming

Kids Definition of consume

1 : to destroy by or as if by fire
2 : to eat or drink up
3 : to use up consume electricity Our entire day was consumed searching for his glasses.
4 : to take up the interest or attention of Curiosity consumed the crowd.

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More from Merriam-Webster on consume

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with consume

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for consume

Spanish Central: Translation of consume

Nglish: Translation of consume for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of consume for Arabic Speakers

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